Thursday, June 28, 2007

Board Priorities: Public Awareness

(Part 3 of 3)

Nonprofit Congress delegates identified one final sector-level priority, “public awareness and support of the sector,” which they defined as “increas(ing) public understanding and support(ing) support so that nonprofits can continue to do their best work” (Source: Nonprofit Congress).

I’m a PR professional by training and trade, so seeing the board’s role in reaching out and raising a nonprofit’s visibility has always made sense to me. Each board member brings to the table personal and professional relationships that may be drawn upon to support the nonprofit.

Some of those connections will be clear: they involve people or groups that have a vested interest in our nonprofit’s mission. Others may be more of a stretch to find that link. Whatever the scenario, the board member can be an effective, credible voice for our organization.

Does your board recognize its members’ potential (and responsibility) as ambassadors for your nonprofit? Are they enthusiastic and willing to talk broadly about your work and your needs? Are they confident in their ability to speak knowledgeably about you? Are they not only thinking about opportunities to speak up on your behalf and, more important, are they taking them? Is this a priority for them? How can we make it a priority?

Please share your successes – and challenges – engaging board members in raising public awareness of your work by commenting on this entry.

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